DNP & Doctorate in Nursing Specialties Degree Programs Overview
Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctorate in Nursing Specialties programs are advanced practice degree programs. These are either direct care specializations such as nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, or clinical nurse specialist (CNS) degrees or indirect care specializations such as nursing administration or nursing informatics.
Registered nurses who aspire to terminal level education in an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) specialty might seek a Doctor of Nursing Practice or Doctor of Nursing (DN) degree. Nurses with a DNP are specially trained to put into practice the science developed by nurse researchers who pursue PhD, DNSC, and other research-focused nursing doctorates.
FACT: Although a master’s degree is the most common form of entry-level education, many APRNs choose to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Ph.D[i].
DNP vs PhD
In fact, students looking for a doctorate degree as a nurse practitioner usually pursue a doctorate in nursing practice instead of a Ph.D. in nursing. A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a post-master's degree program that provides students with the skills necessary for advanced clinical nursing practice. A Ph.D. in Nursing, on the other hand, is intended for students who want to pursue upper-level careers in nursing, such as teaching and research. These PhD program usually encourage participants to begin pursuing a research topic during the first year of study.
What is a DNP?
Whereas a PhD in Nursing is a research based degree, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a practice degree that prepares nurses to lead, deliver and improve patient-centered care by bringing the latest evidence-based knowledge to the clinical practice of nursing and to a chosen nursing specialty. DNP programs teach students how to provide advanced nursing care as members of interdisciplinary health care teams, and emphasize quality improvement to impact positive patient care outcomes. The DNP curricula build on previous the Master of Nursing program by providing advanced education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, health care systems, leadership and health care policy to prepare nurses for the highest level of practice in nursing.
DNP programs require the completion of a residency with a local medical facility and an evidence-based research project prior to graduation. Completing a doctoral degree in nursing (DNP) program might take anywhere from three to five years and has the ability to boost you further in your career, as it may move you into nurse leadership roles.